Archive for ‘Team Fortress 2’

April 10, 2011

koth_jailbird – First test, initial thoughts

After weeks and weeks, I finally got my map tested. It wasn’t exactly pretty! It was to be expected. This was my first map ever so I was learning a lot and wasn’t sure I’d make something fun… but, as I saw the admin change the server time to 10 minutes (half the regular time), I realized that something was definitely wrong.

Admittedly, I probably could have done a bit more for the first alpha… using less makeshift terrain (all the area around the spawn points was just crap to be honest), but I mainly wanted to test if the concept was ok. It seemed alright in the main prison cells area… I didn’t really get long enough time with an audience in there. Partly to do with the reduced time, partly to do with the design.

Lesson 1

The yard is just terrible. It’s way too big. Even in an in-game test, it’s very difficult to judge the scale of areas. When in an actual game situation (with enemies and allies), it’s just a massive barren area which doesn’t contribute anything to the map. Seeing as there are only 2 main areas in the map (the cells and the yards), I’ve gotta do a major overhaul.

Lesson 2

I need to focus more people into the central area. While I was naturally inclined to run straight to the point, most people were running down the scenic route… which is meant to be just for a few flankers. The outside walls and yard are big and boring but apparently a temptation for a lot of people. Snipers love that area. Spies love that area (because they love Snipers).  In the end there was about 16 people in the map, 4 on each team were running around the yard and walls.

Conclusions

After playing many community maps as part of the gamedays, I definitely have to step up my game. I wanted to start with something very simple but it just didn’t really work. I like the idea of a prison and I think I should stick with King of the Hill, but I think a complete overhaul is necessary. I need to get into real detail and design the area around the point, routes to that area and ways to focus gameplay to where I want it. Right now, Jailbird is too simplistic and boring.

As the awful Martin Lawrence said in that awful movie Bad Boys… this shit just got real.

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Sam

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March 17, 2011

koth_jailbird – The time has come…

Well this is finally it!

The alpha version of my Team Fortress 2 map is finished. It’s fully functioning and playable, albeit rough around the edges. Now I am at the stage where I need to get it play tested. Until now, I’ve always been theorycrafting; guessing what will work where and with which classes. Getting my map tested is the next big step. Using the information from the playtest, I can tweak and add to my map, refining it with every iteration. Eventually I will have a silky smooth and fun gameplay experience, then I can texturize this bad boy and release it!

Tomorrow evening at 5pm GMT, there is an EU Gameday ran by TF2Maps.net. I’ve submitted my map, which you can view here, complete with pictures and a little intro to the premise. After testing, I’ll post what feedback I have and then see what I can do about turning frowns upside down.

Here’s a final walkthrough of my map before I submitted it. Enjoy, and if you’ve found this and feel like testing… join the Steam Community Group ‘Team Fortress 2 Mappers’ and they’ll prompt you when the gameday begins!

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Sam

March 9, 2011

koth_jailbird – Pre-pre-pre Alpha Walkthrough

Been a bit busy the past few days, and not really in a mapping mood so I’ve not made a huge amount of progress this week. I just bought Cassiopeia for League of Legends too… that’s probably the main reason! Actually I’ve done next to nothing, just mirror imaging my map to finish the main area. I haven’t really shown you all the map in its entirety, just little parts, so I thought it might be nice to have a quick video walkthrough of the map.

The main area (the place where all the fighting will be), isn’t completely finished yet. I’m going to add a small tunnel access to the West/East Cell Blocks from outside the compound (a little Shawshank Redemption homage), as well as a big blast hole from the courtyard into the opposite wing of the West/East Cell Blocks. This will give 4 routes to the control point, which should prevent Snipers from dominating the long straight corridors around the objective.

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I do apologise for the lighting. I haven’t learnt that yet, so it’s pretty ridiculous looking so far. The next stage will be to add aforementioned holes to walls, before completing the respawn/outdoor introduction to the combat zone.

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Sam

March 5, 2011

koth_lockup – Central Point

Before, I was deciding between whether to do the central point or the yard guardhouse next. After playing around in the yard, I realized that a full sized guardhouse didn’t really work in the space. I think I will have to add something extra for the emptiness that’s still left, but I want to see how the yard pans out in playtests before doing that.

Therefore I worked on a couple of things. The first was to make the ramp to the second floor cells internal. Before I’d just put in a makeshift ramp, but it’s meant to be a sort of security access. Now it’s indoors.

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Ramp to Second Floor

The outside of the building.

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March 3, 2011

koth_captive – 4 hours later…

Another update for you.

After 4 hours of trying and mostly failing, multiple times, I’ve finally finished the basic ‘steps from cell to perimeter wall‘ section. It was also the first time I’ve put in a good looking staircase, which was nice practice. Not much else to say so I’ll post the pics.

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From the wall, players can enter the west/east cell blocks…

Here's the pretty version with lighting

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Next time I will either work on the guard house inside the courtyard, or begin the most important part of the map; the control point. Seeing as I’m improving and getting quicker the more I play with the editor, I’ll probably save the control point for last!

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March 1, 2011

koth_jailbird – Early Preview

Still not sure what to call my map yet, but I’m pretty much set on the prison theme so there are a few possibilities; Jailbird being one of them.

I spent most of the day (and a previous one) simply putting together my map. It’s all done in development colours, with no proper lighting. It’s also as simple as possible, with no props and certain complex features (like my radial staircase) have been avoided.

So far I have almost completed the basic layout of the yard…

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View of Courtyard from the South Wall

Similar in-game view

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I still have to add the guard hut, the basketball hoops and properly work on the terraces (I did a very quick job on some templates).

I have also completed the skeleton structure for the north and south cell blocks. There is an overlooking platform on each side, with windows from which to shoot (or be shot) from. So far, all the cells are open… when I properly flesh out this room, I will have to figure out which cells I want to be unavailable. Having all the cells open is boring, plus it gives way too many little nooks and crannies for buildings and sneaky spies.

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February 24, 2011

koth_notsureyet – Preliminary Design

Good morning to one and all!

I’ve finished with my research (i.e. I couldn’t stand it anymore) and put the proverbial pen to paper on my initial design for my KOTH TF2 map. I went with the prison concept because I felt it was much more original and had the potential for something really exciting. The central control point will actually be pretty awesome too, a maximum security cell will be the visual landmark, my initial idea is to be able to look inside the cell… but we’ll see if it’s technically possible to stick a dude in there before I get too excited about it.

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February 23, 2011

TF2 Map – King of the What?

Hi everyone,

This is going to be a sort of ‘off-the-top-of-my-head’ post, as I process some thoughts about my TF2 map design. Later this week, I’ll probably come up with a proper problem statement (like I did for my LoL tank design).

I’ve been playing KOTH maps on TF2 for the past few days, although not that much. As I said last time, I don’t like the mode. Fighting over one point is pretty much just a deathmatch but with an objective to funnel players into a conflict zone. Of course, designating a main area means that you can add other paths and routes on the map to promote strategies like flanking, pincer attacks and sabotage.

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No more KOTH map research, please!

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February 17, 2011

OK, OK… hear me out. Changing my TF2 map.

Right,

I’ve been slowly making my TF2 map, pl_extraction, and learning the Hammer Editor at the same time. I’ve been reading tutorials, trying new things, failing new things and talking to mappers in the TF2 Mappers Group on Steam. The group chat has grazr in it! The guy who wrote all the tutorials I’ve been plagurizing errr quoting!

After trying to figure out why my map wasn’t compiling, I was explaining what I was doing with a curved corner in my mountain tunnel. Apparently I was doing it all wrong. I should just be using hard corners until I get some tests done. That’s how I should be thinking. It doesn’t matter how pretty my map is, I need to get something functional, balanced, fun and small… test it to oblivion and go for pretty and big. I was also advised that Payload is a really difficult mode to start with, and that I should try something much simpler for learning purposes.

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This is what Valve says about King of the Hill maps…

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February 14, 2011

pl_extraction – Stage 1, Update 1

Hi everyone,

My TF2 map; pl_extraction, is underway. It’s been a slow start, since I’ve been learning how to use Displacements to create my hilly environment. I’ve started, restarted and re-restarted a few times now, but I think I can now say that this version is coming along quite well.

If you recall from last time, I had to create a hill with a watchtower on top. This would act thematically as a vanguard post for the past RED defence and as the primary objective for the BLU team in the current attack. The whole map is intended to have duality in its narrative, showing both the past battle (before the game started) and the current one.

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Beginnings of my hill and watchtower

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Currently it’s not finished. What I began with doing was ensuring the hill brush displacement was properly sealed on all sides (so it doesn’t leak into the void) and that the edges were unpassable (people can’t walk or jump up from the side). What I need to do now, is to add a path and to colour the texture so that it blends into the mountain on the western wall and so that it looks more natural.

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